Want to start a pro soccer team? As Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn
discovered, it's very complicated.
Plans to bring a second pro team to San Francisco collapsed when Swinmurn's San
Francisco Football Club withdrew its bid to become a USL team after it failed to find a home. With that decision, SFFC also pulled the plug on its PDL team, the Burlingame Dragons.
SFFC had first hoped to build a 5,000-seat stadium in Burlingame, near San Francisco International Airport.
The project collapsed because of the difficulty with
the timeline necessitated by receiving an environmental impact for Murray Field, at which it planned on building the stadium, and the inability to secure enough parking. AT&T Park, not enough dates.
After Swinmurn went to Cincinnati and saw the FC Cincinnati-Red Bulls Open Cup game, where he was "blown away" by
the support there, SFFC turned its attention to playing at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, and Swinmurn brought in other investors drawn to what he termed a "go-big-or-go-home
Soccer has drawn well at AT&T Park, but they were all for one-off international matches, not a full league schedule. Unable to secure more than a few dates from the Giants,
SFFC Elsewhere ...
SFFC looked at Pier 32, where the NBA Warriors had considered building an arena, but Swinmurn said building
a 5,000-seat arena there was too risky.
SFFC looked into playing at college facilities or buying land, but nothing made sense. Everything was too isolated or too expensive. "The Bay Area
is crazy to buy land," he said. Dragons:
SFFC hoped to continue the amateur Dragons as a development team for the USL team but
it no loner made sense, given its eight-game home schedule.
"It's not a business," Swinmurn said, "not something we can really grow."
The NASL San Francisco Deltas are in
their first season at Kezar Stadium but averaging about 2,400 fans a game and facing an uncertain future.